Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Massachusetts?

It is natural for victims of rear-end collisions to question who is at fault for their accidents. Determining who is at fault is necessary for injured parties to recover compensation.

The driver who caused the accident will be considered at fault in a rear-end collision in Massachusetts. Furthermore, if a rear-end collision was caused by an on-the-job employee, the negligent driver’s employer may be held vicariously liable for the accident. Identifying at-fault drivers who flee the scene of rear-end collisions can be accomplished with various forms of evidence.

If you were injured because of a rear-end collision in Massachusetts, get help evaluating the legal options available to you. Contact our experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyers by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a free case review.

Who Can Be Held at Fault for Rear-End Collisions in Massachusetts?

Rear-end collisions can involve multiple parties. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine which party is at fault for an accident. Victims can contact our Boston car accident lawyers for help determining which of the following parties is at fault in rear-end collisions:


The driver who caused the accident will be at fault for a rear-end collision. Drivers are expected to obey traffic laws and exercise reasonable care behind the wheel. When drivers act recklessly, serious accidents can occur. The following are common forms of negligence that cause rear-end collisions in Massachusetts:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Improper lane changes
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Braking abruptly

There are many other forms of careless or reckless behavior that may cause rear-end collisions. Victims can contact our Massachusetts car accident lawyers for help identifying at-fault drivers.


In some cases, employers may also be at fault for rear-end collisions in Massachusetts. When a driver causes an accident while acting within the scope of their employment, their employer may be held liable for injuries caused by the accident. For example, if you were injured in a rear-end collision caused by an on-the-job truck driver, that driver’s employer may be considered at fault.

Our experienced Wakefield car accident lawyers can help determine if you may pursue damages against an at-fault driver’s employer after a rear-end collision.

City, State, or Federal Governments

In rare cases, a city, state, or federal government may be at fault for rear-end collisions caused by poor design or maintenance of roadways. The following are examples of poor road design or maintenance that can cause accidents:

  • Damaged signage
  • Short on and off ramps
  • Improper grading
  • Low medians
  • Malfunctioning traffic lights
  • Poorly maintained construction sites

These cases are different from lawsuits filed against other drivers. Such cases must be filed in accordance with the Massachusetts Tort Claim Act. Plaintiffs must show that their crash was caused by a negligent act or omission of a government employee. Furthermore, plaintiffs must file a Presentment Claim Form with the following information attached:

  • The official accident report
  • Identification of the at-fault entity or individual
  • Proof of damages caused by the injury alleged

Accordingly, holding a city, state, or federal government at fault for a rear end collision can be a complicated process. The assistance of our Malden car accident lawyers can be highly valuable when pursuing such claims.


Passengers cannot usually be held at fault for rear-end collisions. In some cases, crashes may occur because a passenger distracted the driver or contributed to the accident in some other way, but you usually cannot hold them liable. However, there may be situations where a passenger grabs the wheel or pulls the emergency brake, which could mean holding them liable as the “operator” of the vehicle in that moment.

Identifying Who is at Fault When a Driver Leaves the Scene of a Rear-End Collision in Massachusetts

You should always remain at the scene after suffering a rear-end collision. Under M.G.L. Chapter 90 § 24, drivers who leave the scene of a crash can be charged with a hit and run. A driver who commits a hit and run will be precluded from recovering compensation related to the accident. Unfortunately, many negligent motorists still flee the scenes of accidents they cause.

Finding the driver who caused an accident is necessary to recover financial compensation. However, hit and run victims may have difficulty identifying at-fault drivers. The following are examples of ways our Quincy car accident lawyers can help determine who is at fault when drivers leave the scene of rear-end collisions:

Physical Evidence from the Scene

Physical evidence from the scene of a crash can be used to identify who is at fault. For example, shards of glass from a broken headlight may be matched with a defendant’s damaged vehicle to prove they were involved in a rear-end collision.

Traffic Camera Footage

Traffic camera footage is another form of evidence that can help identify the driver who fled the scene of a rear-end collision. Traffic cameras are used to surveil public roads. These cameras can be used to show the license plate number or type of car driven by the at-fault motorist.

Eyewitness Statements

Eyewitness statements can also be used to identify an at-fault driver after a hit and run. In many cases, an eyewitness will be able to describe the appearance of the vehicle or driver that caused a rear-end collision. Accordingly, victims of such accidents should always attempt to gather contact information for eyewitnesses if possible.

Photos from the Scene

Lastly, photos from the scene can help identify the driver who caused a rear-end collision. In some cases, the at-fault driver will not flee the scene right away. Rather, the other driver may stop to assess the damage before leaving. Accordingly, victims should attempt to take photos at the scene of the accident whenever possible. Photos that document other driver’s car model or license plate number can help our experienced Somerville car accident lawyers when assigning fault.

If You Were Injured Because of a Rear-End Collision in Massachusetts, Our Lawyers Can Help

If you were injured because of a rear-end collision, seek guidance and support from our experienced Cambridge car accident lawyers by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a free case review.